The University of Chicago News Office  

Message from President Zimmer to University alumni

Sent to alumni Nov. 21 at 11:00 a.m.

To: University of Chicago Alumni
From: President Robert J. Zimmer
Subject: Campus Tragedy

You may have seen news reports about the tragic killing of one of our graduate students on November 19. Amadou Cisse, an international student completing his Ph.D. degree in chemistry, was shot and killed at 1:26 a.m. Monday in the street near 6120 S. Ellis Ave. We are saddened and outraged by this terrible event, and our hearts go out to the student's family, friends, colleagues and neighbors.

Cisse had successfully defended his doctoral dissertation on November 1, and was scheduled to receive his degree at Convocation on December 7. The University will award his degree posthumously. A memorial service is being planned by his University colleagues and friends.

The University of Chicago Police and Chicago Police Department are working together to aggressively investigate this crime. The University has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

In addition to the fatal shooting, there were two other incidents on or near campus during the same time period. At 12:33 a.m. at 6045 Woodlawn, a man was chased by an individual who fired a shot in his direction. At 1:15 a.m., two women were robbed at 924 E. 57th St. by an individual who said he had a weapon. Police are investigating whether or not these incidents are related.

I want to let you know of some immediate as well as sustained actions the University will take to improve safety in and around campus.

First, we have increased police patrols on and around campus. In the past few years we have expanded police patrols between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight when most crimes occur. That approach has been successful in reducing crime. In the wake of Monday's shooting we have taken the further steps of expanding by another 50 percent the number of University police car patrols between 4 p.m. and midnight and doubling the police car presence after midnight around campus. We also have supplemented the squad-car based patrols with additional officers on bicycles. Each of these steps will be maintained indefinitely.

Second, we have added two additional vans to SafeRide, our late-night van service, and expect to make additional improvements to that service as soon as we can determine - with the input of our campus community - what changes would be most effective. The further changes being anticipated include additional vans as well as changes to routes, policies, and other operational aspects of the program to better meet the needs of the University community.

Third, until the opening next spring of our new police headquarters now under construction at 61st and Drexel Avenue, we will set up a visible police substation on the south campus.

At the same time that we take these immediate measures, we will begin a comprehensive review of campus safety and security, seeking advice from both security experts as well as from campus and community members. Among improvements we expect to consider is the installation of additional security cameras on and around the campus.

Finally, let me assure you that we will work to improve campus safety in an ongoing and deliberate way. We take seriously our responsibility for providing a safe environment for our community and welcome your thoughts about additional areas that need attention.

We will continue to post updates to our webpage at

Last modified at 01:26 PM CST on Wednesday, November 21, 2007

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